Last season, only two boys broke 2:00 at Hamline. Expect a different story this year, as all entrants have seed times 1:59.52 or better. Brandon Stachewicz of Lakeville North enters the race as the top seed, and the only boy who has cracked 1:57 on the year. Despite running 1:57.86 at sections last spring, Stachewicz just missed qualifying to State, making this the highest caliber meet Stachowicz has competed in. He'll have to fend off a full field, including defending meet champion John Starkey of Chaska. Starkey has the best PR in the field, a 1:54.23 that earned him third at the 2018 State Meet. However, Starkey is listed as the second leg of Chaska's 4x800 relay team, so he will be running with tired legs. Patrick Leonard of Wayzata has the next strongest resume. Leonard owns the second quickest PR in the field, a blistering 1:54.90 that he ran en route to a sixth place finish at State last year. Other notable competitors include Logan Lommel, who placed third at Hamline last spring, and Maxwell Gifford, who hit a PR of 1:58.41 in his 2019 debut at the distance.
With a mix of familiar and newer names, the 1600m field is wide open. With defending champion Addison Stansbury not racing, and Austin Streit and Nicholas Scheller electing to run the 3200m, the top and only returner to this field is Class A star Geno Uhrbom of Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin. Uhrbom won the Class A cross country title in the fall, and is the lone representative from the small school division in all distance events. The top seed time in the field belongs to Lukas Hessini of Mounds View, who ran 4:24.40 at the Last Man Standing Invitational, almost three weeks ago. Assuming Hessini has improved his fitness since then, he could be the one to watch on Friday. However, his time is just .17 of a second ahead of Zubeir Dagane of Bloomington Kennedy, whose 4:24.57 effort at the Metro West Conference Relays was a massive eight second personal best. Other key entrants include Cameron Arkesteyn of Wayzata, who will attempt to score some valuable points for the Trojans; Jake Derouin of Eden Prairie, who owns bests of 4:21 and 9:20; and Torin Christianson of Chanhassen, who has broken 4:20 and owns a stellar 1:55 PR in the 800m.
All of the biggest names will be running under the lights in likely the deepest distance field of the day. And with the meet's defending champion Max Manley not entered, the victory is anyone's to take. University of Minnesota commit Austin Streit owns the fastest seed time, a 9:21.70 converted from his Minnesota-leading 4:21.56 1600m he ran three weeks ago. The fastest time in the state up to this point belongs to Isaac Basten of Buffalo, whose 9:24.65 stands a solid three seconds better than any other athlete. However, he's seeded just fourth, as converted times from Wayzata's Grant Price and St. Paul Highland Park's Oliver Paleen squeeze in ahead of Basten's mark. Because each of the top three seeds come from 1600m times, it will be interesting to see how the endurances of Streit, Price, and Paleen currently stand. Andrew Brandt is a lethal finisher, demonstrated best by a mid-XC time trial in which he recorded a huge negative split en-route to a 9:17 3200m. Acer Iverson, the two-time Gatorade XC Runner of the Year in Minnesota, has the strongest resume of the field, so despite being seeded sixth, Iverson will surely be one of the favorites on Friday. And Luke Labatte has shown time and time again that he can kick with the best in the state. Lastly, don't forget that Nicholas Scheller ran an astounding 9:13 as a sophomore.
Though each of the past two years have seen epic matchups between Wayzata and Stillwater, there will be a changing of the guard in 2019. That's because neither of these two historic programs will be on the line in the 4x800. Every team in this field has a decent shot at the title. On paper, Rosemount has the fastest seed time (8:05.07) by a strong margin, roughly 6.5 seconds. They will also be anchored by Luke Labatte. Red Wing owns the next best seed time, with their team made up by four of their dominant scoring five from cross country. Despite having the slowest seed time in the field, Chanhassen should not be counted out, as their big three of Nicholas Scheller, Zachary Long, and Torin Christianson comprise the bulk of the team. Mounds View's team consists of three members of their NXN squad, while three of Hopkins' team also qualified individually to Hamline, and look better than their 8:16 seed time. But ultimately, the 4x800 is anyone's race!